These Devices Create Music at the Blink of an Eye

New technology can help all people access music.

Mar 20, 2022
Colorful musical notes expressing the joy of music.

(John_Dakapu /

Some call him the greatest composer that ever lived. Beethoven composed hundreds of inspiring musical scores, including the famous 5th Symphony.

But Beethoven isn’t just known for his musical contributions. The composer, who managed to transform the world of music even after becoming deaf, is celebrated for his persistence in the face of challenges. 

Beethoven isn’t the only musician to refuse to allow his personal handicaps to stand in his way; musicians with disabilities follow in his footsteps every day.

Although, as the best-known and probably biggest classical music radio station in the world, Classic FM reports, currently only 1.8% of musical professionals in the United Kingdom have a disability, music becomes more accessible to people with handicaps every day.

Here are some of the inventions changing the face of the accessible music industry.

A harp for quadriplegics
"When I am sad, or happy, I put on music," shares Greek harpist Alexandra Kerlidou. Reuters reports 

Kerlidou grew up loving Greek songs and piano music. She also grew up with cerebral palsy- unable to use her hands or to speak.

Kerlidou loved listening to music, but she never thought she would be able to play it herself. That changed when Zacharías Vamvakousis invented the Eye Harp.

Vamvakousis, who studied sound and music computing, created the Eye Harp after his good friend, a talented musician, got into a motorcycle accident and almost became paralyzed. It was then that Vamvakousis realized that there were no instruments for quadriplegics.

Vamvakousis’s device allows users to direct their gaze in order to select musical notes arrayed in a wheel on the screen. It can be programmed to produce notes from 25 different musical instruments. 

Now, Vamvakousis spends his days training children with special needs to use his technology, through his Eye Harp Association

The Clarion
The National Open Youth Orchestra welcomes musicians with any and all abilities, reports Ludwig Van Tortonto

Some players in this orchestra use the Clarion, another innovative digital instrument that can be played via eye movements alone. The award-winning Clarion was developed by the OpenUp Music organization.

In this video, Bradley, a wheelchair bound student with cerebral palsy shares his experiences playing the Clarion for the National Open Youth Orchestra.

Disability should never be a barrier to enjoying music and getting involved…think you can’t play in this orchestra?” he asks viewers, “you are wrong. You can! Do it!”

Music is a universal language that transcends cultural barriers. Now, music can smash through physical barriers as well and achieve full universality through accessibility.

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Adina is a writer who believes in the transformative power of words. She understands that everyone has a valuable story to tell. Adina’s goal is to learn new things every day and share her discoveries with others.